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First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross

3/13/2017: Jacksonville's Water Quality; Kidney Cancer; Tricia Booker; Cole Pepper


Monday on “First Coast Connect” we discussed Jacksonville’s drinking water with a study by three University of North Florida professors: assistant professors of economics Russell Triplet and Chiradip Chatterjee, professor of accounting and finance Parvez Ahmed, and JEA director of laboratory compliance Kevin Holbrooks. This is National Kidney Month and we spoke with Dr. Seth Strope, head of the urologic oncology at the Baptist Anderson Cancer Center. New author Tricia Booker talked about her book “The Place of Peace and Crickets” and Cole Pepper talked about his tournament picks for March Madness, the Jaguars aggressive free agent signings and Jacksonville University making the College Invitational Tournament, playing host to St. Francis (Pennsylvania) on Tuesday.   

Jacksonville Water Quality

Unknown to most Americans, a number of U.S. cities have drinking water with unhealthy levels of chemicals and contaminants.

Jacksonville ranked among the worst in water quality, according to the Environmental Working Group. The EWG examined the quality of water supplies in a large group of major American cities between 2005 and 2009. The group of UNF professors looked at this by investigating how much more local residents might be willing to pay for improvement in the quality of our tap water. According to the study, the average cost is $6.22. JEA has called the EWG study biased and said it constantly tests the water for contaminants.

Kidney Cancer

It’s National Kidney Month and doctors say people need to be aware of symptoms and not delay in seeking medical attention. More than 64,000 kidney cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2017 in the U.S. Florida has the second highest anticipated new cases behind only California.

Tricia Booker

She’s a local professor, author and a mom. Tricia Booker is out with her first book “The Place of Peace and Crickets,” a personal account of her family’s journey through the international adoption process. She adopted a girl from Vietnam and a boy from Guatemala.

Cole Pepper

Florida, Florida State and for the first-time ever Northwestern  — Melissa Ross’ alma mater — are in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Jaguars signed three major free agents last week and traded for another. All four are expected to be starters and the team is  linked to at least two more free agents.      

Producer Kevin Meerschaert can be reached at, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @KMeerschaertJax.

Kevin Meerschaert has left WJCT for new pursuits. He was the producer of First Coast Connect until October of 2018.